Infotainment Factory: Fitzy's warning to Wallabies in Izzy's corner

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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Fitzy's warning to Wallabies in Izzy's corner


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Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou's explosive Facebook post standing with Israel Folau has opened a can of worms for Rugby Australia (RA) with the growing potential for a divided squad in a World Cup year.

Following a bizarre chain of events in which another Wallabies player of Pacific Islander background, Reds captain Samu Kerevi, clarified an 'apology' for thanking Jesus for dying on the cross in an Easter Instagram post, a clearly irritated Tupou lashed out, sarcastically suggesting that all "Pacific Islands rugby players around the world" be sacked due to their religious beliefs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw3-VF4FA7h/

The growing disquiet among Wallabies players of Pacific Islander heritage appears to suggest they are feeling marginalised for their religious beliefs due to RA's strong stance on Folau's homophobic Instagram post that has him fighting for his career.

It's an extremely sensitive issue that has the potential to blow-up any chance the Wallabies had of mounting a meaningful World Cup campaign later this year, given the squad's significant number of players with Pacific Island backgrounds.

Speaking to Wide World of Sports for 5 Mins with Fitzy, former Wallaby and renowned sports journalist Peter FitzSimons acknowledged the players' rights to "believe whatever you want to believe" and to be supportive of Folau, but warned them against crossing the line that put the superstar fullback in hot water to start with.

"It is one thing for them to say, 'we're with Izzy', let's see one of them put out 'gays are going to burn in hell'," FitzSimons said.

"Do that. See that. Because the answer is, in the Australian rugby community we are inclusive, we don't do that. It's 2019, we don't do that. I mean we didn't do that in the 1980s and the 1990s but we certainly don't do it now.

"If you are in the public domain and you are being paid to bring people into the tent and you're outside the tent saying 'gays are going to burn in hell' we don't want you out the front of our tent. "

FitzSimons acknowledged the Folau saga had "certainly blown a back wheel" off the wagon carrying the Wallabies' World Cup hopes but made it clear that now that it's happened it could only be dealt with in one way by RA.

Folau 'will not play for Australia again'

"Believe whatever you want to believe but if you are going to put that (homophobic views) out there, the consequences of that, make it clear to us before you sign anything," FitzSimons said.

"With Israel Folau the whole thing is really unfortunate but it's actually not a matter of religion, it's a matter of employment law.

"You (presenter James Bracey) work for Channel Nine and I work for Channel Nine and if I were to put out a tweet that said 'gays are going to burn in hell' I don't think my feet would touch the ground before a security guard would escort me off the premises."

Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou's explosive Facebook post standing with Israel Folau has opened a can of worms for Rugby Australia (RA) with the growing potential for a divided squad in a World Cup year.

Following a bizarre chain of events in which another Wallabies player of Pacific Islander background, Reds captain Samu Kerevi, clarified an 'apology' for thanking Jesus for dying on the cross in an Easter Instagram post, a clearly irritated Tupou lashed out, sarcastically suggesting that all "Pacific Islands rugby players around the world" be sacked due to their religious beliefs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw3-VF4FA7h/

The growing disquiet among Wallabies players of Pacific Islander heritage appears to suggest they are feeling marginalised for their religious beliefs due to RA's strong stance on Folau's homophobic Instagram post that has him fighting for his career.

It's an extremely sensitive issue that has the potential to blow-up any chance the Wallabies had of mounting a meaningful World Cup campaign later this year, given the squad's significant number of players with Pacific Island backgrounds.

Speaking to Wide World of Sports for 5 Mins with Fitzy, former Wallaby and renowned sports journalist Peter FitzSimons acknowledged the players' rights to "believe whatever you want to believe" and to be supportive of Folau, but warned them against crossing the line that put the superstar fullback in hot water to start with.

"It is one thing for them to say, 'we're with Izzy', let's see one of them put out 'gays are going to burn in hell'," FitzSimons said.

"Do that. See that. Because the answer is, in the Australian rugby community we are inclusive, we don't do that. It's 2019, we don't do that. I mean we didn't do that in the 1980s and the 1990s but we certainly don't do it now.

"If you are in the public domain and you are being paid to bring people into the tent and you're outside the tent saying 'gays are going to burn in hell' we don't want you out the front of our tent. "

FitzSimons acknowledged the Folau saga had "certainly blown a back wheel" off the wagon carrying the Wallabies' World Cup hopes but made it clear that now that it's happened it could only be dealt with in one way by RA.

Folau 'will not play for Australia again'

"Believe whatever you want to believe but if you are going to put that (homophobic views) out there, the consequences of that, make it clear to us before you sign anything," FitzSimons said.

"With Israel Folau the whole thing is really unfortunate but it's actually not a matter of religion, it's a matter of employment law.

"You (presenter James Bracey) work for Channel Nine and I work for Channel Nine and if I were to put out a tweet that said 'gays are going to burn in hell' I don't think my feet would touch the ground before a security guard would escort me off the premises."

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